Phi Beta Kappa Inductees!

The Psychology Department would like to congratulate Sarah Waldinger, Molly Zydel, Megan Blackwell, Erin “Micky” McDonnell, and Alicia Mitchell on their induction to Phi Beta Kappa. Continue reading to hear from the students themselves.

Sarah Waldinger

My name is Sarah Waldinger and I am a double major in Psychology and Political Science.  I was surprised and honored to be invited to join Phi Beta Kappa, and am so thankful for all of the opportunities Roanoke College has given me.  Throughout my time here I have been able to travel to Poland and Ukraine on a May Term, go to leadership conferences through my sorority, work on campus in the Writing Center, and volunteer extensively downtown.  [In particular,] I volunteered with REACH, which is a nonprofit that focuses on the Southeast of Roanoke.  We worked with the Rescue Mission, CYP, Pathways, the SPCA, and renovated abandoned homes.  That is definitely not an exhaustive list, but REACH was the name of the main program.

I am happy to say that next year I will be working with Teach for America in Alabama – I would like to thank everyone in the Psychology department and throughout the college who helped me to achieve everything I could have wanted in the past four years!

Molly Zydel

My name is Molly Zydel, and I am a Psychology major with a minor in Sociology. I am so excited and honors to have been invited to Phi Beta Kappa! Dr. Powell, since she is my advisor, actually got the chance to tell me in person before she sent out the emails! That was really cool, and I am glad to have experienced that the way I did. Throughout my time here at Roanoke, I have been involved in research, gone on May Term to Thailand, served on the Honors Executive Board as the Mentor Program Chairperson, and volunteered at the West End Center for Youth and the Community Youth Program. Currently, I am also a member of Psi Chi (the International Honors Society for Psychology), Alpha Kappa Delta (the International Honors Society for Sociology), and the Roanoke College Honors Program. Specifically with research, I have been working on my Honors Distinction Project, which focuses on former foster care youth and their perceptions of themselves concerning their academic self-efficacy, resiliency, and their attachment style. Essentially, I am surveying this population on their beliefs about themselves concerning their ability to accomplish school-related tasks. I am also surveying foster parents on their perceptions of foster care youth on the same constructs. After graduation this May, I hope to be joining the workforce, possibly working in Human Resources and Recruiting. I am so excited to become a part of Phi Beta Kappa!

Megan Blackwell

My name is Megan Blackwell. I’m a senior Psychology and Biology double major with a concentration in Neuroscience. I’m ecstatic about my invitation to join Phi Beta Kappa! It was a huge surprise for me and I could not be happier about it. It’s a huge honor and affirmation that my hard work here at Roanoke has paid off. In my time here, I’ve been involved with several student groups including Psi Chi, Omicron Delta Kappa, Alpha Sigma Alpha, SAACS, and many others. I’ve served as the Vice President of Psi Chi, the secretary of Omicron Delta Kappa, the secretary of SAACS, and at various times the secretary, treasurer, and coffee shop coordinator of our Honors Program. I also had the opportunity to travel to Switzerland and Denmark to study the origins of modern physics for my May Term. For the past two years, I have been doing research at the Salem Veteran Affairs Medical Center. I’ve been involved on several protocols as a research assistant there and have had the opportunity to carry out my own research project, “Cognitive Reserve and Resilience in Veterans with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.” As of right now, I don’t know what my next steps are after graduation, but I’m confident in saying my experiences at Roanoke have more than prepared me for a career and life after I move on from here.

Erin “Micky” McDonnell

I am Erin McDonnell, or “Micky”, as I’m more commonly known as around campus. I am a Psychology major, concentrating in Neuroscience. I came to Roanoke not having a clue as to what I wanted to do or even study. Roanoke College has afforded me the opportunities to explore, the tools to succeed, and the motivation to pursue everything without discounting any of my interests. Phi Beta Kappa is an enormous honor that I am so thankful to have received and am excited to be a part of. These four years, in addition to the unique curriculum, I have been able to conduct my own research, travel all over Greece, work in theater, volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, and hold many different leadership positions within various organizations.

In my final year, I have been preparing to enter the field of scientific research by working inter-departmentally to complete a Behavioral Neuroscience Independent Study research project. This project involves exposing varying concentration levels of a tin compound to Danio rerio (AKA zebrafish) in order to see how it affects brain development and response to startling stimuli. It will be a privilege to continue working, now through the community that is Phi Beta Kappa. Thank you to everyone who got me to where I am today and will be in the future.

And other our inductee, Alicia Mitchell, who graduated from Roanoke College in December of 2018.

Congratulations to everyone! We look forward to seeing what you accomplish in the future and we’ll be cheering you on from the fifth floor of Life Science (until it’s renovated, then from different floors!)




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